With Super Bowl LVI set up between the LA Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals, we look back on the best match of the last 3 weeks.
What a postseason. This weekend’s NFL Conference Championships have been decided, and the LA Rams will face the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI on February 13th. The Rams will become just the second team ever to host a Super Bowl. It also happens to be the second year in a row that this rare feat has been achieved.
They’ll be facing this season’s Rudy, the Cincinnati Bengals. 31 other NFL fan bases will be supporting the best underdog story to reach the Super Bowl in decades. After the longest regular season in history, and some of the best playoff football ever seen, all that’s left is to decide the team that will be Super Bowl LVI Champions.
Actually, almost all that’s left. There’s also enough time to reflect on some of the playoff football that we have seen over the last month. There were blowout losses, last-minute winners, and some of the best postseason football ever seen. This article will try and identify the most impressive win of the 2021 NFL Playoffs. Read on and see if you agree.
Most Impressive NFL playoffs win in 2021-22:
AFC Wildcard Round
Buffalo Bills 47 – 17 New England Patriots
With the plucky Bengals heading to Super Bowl LVI, it would be easy to overlook the entire season as it happened and focus on their (literally) unbelievable postseason. The AFC standings in this year’s NFL was a rollercoaster ride. Multiple pre-season favorites started the year with shaky form and inconsistent results. No team exemplified this topsy turvy ride like the Buffalo Bills.
After losing last year’s divisional round to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Bills needed to reflect on their weaknesses and become a better all-around team. The opening months of the season seemed to show they had. They showed elite defensive instincts as a team, their passing game looked impressive and they appeared to be a very cohesive unit.
An early-season victory over the previous year’s divisional winners the Chiefs proved their mettle and demonstrated how they have become more ruthless.
Every team has weaknesses exposed through the season, though, and this Bills team was no different. The rushing offense was disjointed and Josh Allen was forced to become their number one rushing option. They had multiple bad losses, such as a 9-6 defeat to an awful Jacksonville Jaguars team or losing to the Patriots record passing lows in horrible weather conditions on an infamous Monday Night Football. The footballing world was unsure what to make of the Bills or their identity, and whether their defense could step up against a supposed superior standard of team. Could they face pressure and perform well when needed?
The Wildcard Round of the 2021 Playoffs proved once and for all that this Bills team is built different. Josh Allen put on a display of offensive dynamism and efficiency for the ages. Most significantly, a haunted franchise was able to exorcise some demons.
The Bills organization has slowly built this fantastic team over the last five years, but they were the worst team in football for twenty years. They were the last team in the NFL to make a playoff appearance in the 21st century, having to wait all the way until 2017. The biggest bully in the AFC schoolyard for that entire time was the Patriots dynasty, led by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, who regularly slaughtered the Bills with ease.
The weekend of January 16th buried that pain. The Bills are a bona fide contender and should be for the next half-decade as long as they have Josh Allen. Their 47-17 win was about as dominant as a playoff win can be. The Patriots looked out of place in the postseason, as their defense was too slow to compete against a bigger and better team.
It felt like the Bills took the loss to the Patriots in their first regular season matchup personally in this game. Their offense was irresistible. The Bills had as many touchdowns as 3rd down completions. That stat alone is ridiculous and demonstrates how controlling the Bills were. They scored on every red zone drive they had. They had no interceptions or turnovers. All of this was led by the brilliance of Josh Allen.
Allen found his receivers at will. If the Patriots backed off deeper to cover, he ran up the middle and brushed off opposing defender contact. He completed 21 of 25 passes for 308 yards and 5 touchdowns, a passer rating of 157.6. His size, athleticism, passing precision, determination, and football IQ all came together for this perfect game by the franchise.
The rest of the postseason hasn’t worked out the way Bills Mafia would have wanted it to, but the brilliance of this performance should never be lost to time. The franchise followed it up with what many are dubbing the Greatest Playoff Game ever (myself included), a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Chiefs after a game in which Allen played at a truly transcendent level.
However, their wildcard win over the New England Patriots should go down in history as one of the most complete playoff performances ever seen. That is why it is the Most Impressive Win of the 2021 NFL Playoffs.